Culley DeGroote attended West Vigo from 1991-1995 where he played football, basketball, and baseball all four years of high school. While at West Vigo he compiled 11 varsity letters and was awarded the McMillan Award as the top male athlete in vigo county in 1995.
Culley was a three year starter in football as a quarterback for the Vikings. His senior year he threw for over 1,100 yards, 18 touchdowns, and completed 55% of his passes. His senior year against Crawfordsville Culley complete his first 17 passes of the game and finished with 295 yards passing that game. Upon graduation at West Vigo Culley owned the Vigo county record for most career touchdown passes with 37. He finished his career with 2,850 yards, 37 TD’s, and completed over 50% of his passes during three seasons. Culley was chosen first team All-State as a quarterback his senior year for class 3A.
In basketball Culley was a four year letterman and a three year starter for the Vikings. His freshman year he played for Dave Cassell as a member of the JV team that still holds the schools best JV record, 17-3. During Culley’s career the Vikings compiled a record of 58-28. Culley’s junior year the Vikings tied the school record for best regular season, going 16-4. That year Culley scored 33 points, going 14-16 from the field & 6-6 from 3 point range against Indianapolis Brebeuf. Culley led the team in scoring with an average of 17 points per game his junior year, and also led the Vikings in three point shooting making 48 three pointers and shooting 49% from three point range. Victories that year included wins against some of Indiana’s best teams, including: Terre Haute South, Vincennes Lincoln, Indianapolis Broad Ripple, Evansville North, Benton Central, Indianapolis Chatard, Indianapolis Manual, and Indianapolis Northwest. Culley finished with a career scoring average of 14 points per game at West Vigo. Culley was chosen third team all-state his senior year.
In baseball Culley was a four year letterman for the Vikings and a three year starter. Culley was a pitcher/infielder during his time at West Vigo. During Culley’s three years as a varsity starter the Vikings compiled a 51-13 record as a team. Culley finished his career with an 18-3 record as a pitcher. His senior year he was 8-1 with a 1.08 E.R.A. Culley finished his career with a 1.38 E.R.A., which is still the school record. Culley threw three complete game one-hit shutouts his senior year as a pitcher. Culley was chosen for the Indiana All-Star North/South game his senior year as a pitcher.
After graduation from West Vigo High School, Culley attended Franklin College for three years. While at Franklin College Culley was a three year letterman in basketball and baseball. In basketball Culley was a two year starter for the Grizzlies. His last year at Franklin, 1997-98, Culley was chosen first team all conference and first team all region. That year Franklin finished 23-6 and was ranked in the top 25 nationally. The 1997-98 team was the first in Franklin College history to make the NCAA tournament. The Grizzlies won their first round NCAA tournament game, beating Ripon College before losing to Illinois Wesleyan in double overtime in the round of 32. In baseball Culley was a three year starter for the Grizzlies as a starting pitcher. Culley was in the top ten in Franklin College history in pitching wins, appearances, innings pitched, and strikeouts by the end of his career.
Culley graduated from Indiana State University with degrees in Exercise Science and a Physical Education, K-12 teaching degree. Culley is a Physical Education teacher at West Vigo Middle School and is the Head Boys Soccer and baseball coach at West Vigo High School. Culley is married to the former Megan Bradbury. They have one daughter, Cambry, and reside in West Terre Haute.
Some of Culley’s fondest memories of high school are: playing in front of a packed gym every Friday night during basketball season; the Friday night lights during football season; playing at Hulman Center in front of a big crowd during basketball; beating Terre Haute South three times in basketball; beating 4th ranked Vincennes Lincoln in basketball; eating at Rax after games; Mr. Mann spoiling the athletes at West Vigo; eating with Don Mattingly at his restaurant after the Evansville North game; the bus rides to and from games; our team being ranked in the top 25 in the state in baseball my senior year; the basketball brawl against Bloomington South my freshman year; playing for good coaches at every grade level in every sport; running the hill; hanging out in the locker room with my teammates; the rivalries with North and South; and the intense rivalry with Sullivan in all three sports.
I am most thankful for my parents. They did so much for me growing up that it’s hard to imagine where I would be without them. My parents sacrificed so much for me and my siblings so that we could participate in all the activities that we did. I can’t imagine the miles my mom put on her car driving us four kids to all of our ball games and practices. Or the number of hours dad put into kids from all ages and from all over vigo county during the school year and during summer camps. My parents devoted their lives to kids, and I am so thankful and proud of them for that! Lastly, I am thankful for West Vigo and West Terre Haute. This school and community provided me with opportunities, possibilities, and memories that will last my life span. This is a great place to be a kid and I thank God that I grew up in a caring and tight knit community like West Terre Haute.